Ticks- Exotic & Foreign

Exotic & Foreign Ticks and Their Diseases Are Spreading


(This collection would scare Dracula!)

Journal of Clinical Microbiology, August 2005, p. 3851-3859, Vol. 43, No. 8

Phylogenetic Analysis of the Spirochetes Borrelia parkeri and Borrelia turicatae and the Potential for Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever in Florida

Tom G. Schwan,1* Sandra J. Raffel,1 Merry E. Schrumpf,1 Paul F. Policastro,1 Julie A. Rawlings,2 Robert S. Lane,3 Edward B. Breitschwerdt,4 and Stephen F. Porcella1

Laboratory of Human Bacterial Pathogenesis, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Hamilton, Montana,1 Community Preparedness Section, Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas,2 Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California,3 Department of Companion and Special Species Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina4

Received 1 March 2005/ Returned for modification 6 May 2005/ Accepted 13 May 2005


Isolates of Borrelia turicatae, Borrelia parkeri, and the Florida canine borrelia (FCB) were examined to further phylogenetically characterize the identities of these spirochetes in the United States.

DNA sequences of four chromosomal loci (the 16S rRNA gene, flaB, gyrB, and glpQ) were determined for eight isolates of B. turicatae and six isolates of B. parkeri, which grouped the spirochetes into two distinct but closely related taxa (>98% sequence identity) separate from Borrelia hermsii.

The FCB was clearly separated with the group identified as B. turicatae, confirming this bacterium as a relapsing fever spirochete.

Therefore, the potential for tick-borne relapsing fever in humans and other animals exists in Florida and future efforts are needed to determine the enzootic hosts and distribution of this spirochete in the southeastern United States.

Analysis of plasmids demonstrated both linear and circular forms in B. turicatae but only linear plasmids in B. parkeri, which should be of interest to investigators concerned with plasmid diversity and evolution within this group of spirochetes.

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J Parasitol. 2000 Aug;86(4):700-4.

Introduction of potential heartwater vectors and other exotic ticks into Florida on imported reptiles.

Burridge MJ, Simmons LA, Allan SA. Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611-0880, USA.


Following the discovery of establishment of the African tortoise tick Amblyomma marmoreum in Florida, the present study was undertaken to determine the extent of introduction of exotic ticks into Florida on imported reptiles.

Exotic ticks were identified on 29 (91%) of 32 reptile premises in 18 counties of Florida.

The ticks, found on a variety of imported tortoises, snakes, and monitor lizards, belonged to 4 Amblyomma species (A. marmoreum, Amblyomma nuttalli, Amblyomma sabanerae, and Amblyomma sparsum) and 4 Aponomma species (Aponomma exornatum, Aponomma flavomaculatum, Aponomma latum, and Aponomma varanensis).

The most commonly encountered ticks were A. latum and A. marmoreum.

The identifications of A. marmoreum on 8 premises in 7 counties, and of A. sparsum on 1 premises,are of great concern because both species are vectors of heartwater, a lethal disease of cattle, sheep, goats, and deer.

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Exotic ticks introduced into the United States on imported reptiles from 1962 to 2001 and their potential roles in international dissemination of diseases

M. J. Burridge, and L. A. Simmons

Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, P.O. Box 110880, Gainesville, FL 32611-0880, USA

Volume 113, Issues 3–4, 1 May 2003, Pages 289–320


Since 1962, a total of 29 species of exotic ticks have been introduced into the United States on imported reptiles, with 17 species from the genus Amblyomma, 11 from the genus Aponomma and one from the genus Hyalomma.

In the absence of measures to control introduction of these importations, some exotic tick species will develop breeding colonies and become established as indigenous species and some tickborne diseases may be introduced to wreak havoc among susceptible native populations.

However, formulation of risk assessments and rational control measures have been hampered by a lack of knowledge of these exotic ticks, with much of the available data published in older and relatively obscure publications.

This report is an attempt to collate information for all 29 exotic tick species, including previously unpublished data from our laboratory, with particular reference to their geographical distribution, hosts, life cycles and vector potential, and to review methods to minimize their global dissemination. Full article here: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3284951?uid=3739936&uid=2134&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21100902007011

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Heartwater is an acute disease of wild and domestic ruminants including cattle, sheep, goats, deer, and antelope that is caused by the rickettsia Cowdria ruminantium and is spread by ticks of the genus Amblyomma.

Heartwater is native to Africa but also occurs on three islands in the Caribbean. All domestic and wild ruminants in the Western Hemisphere probably are fully susceptible.

In one experimental trial, all untreated white-tailed deer inoculated with C. ruminantium died. If this organism becomes established in the United States, mortality rates among susceptible species such as cattle could be high.

Because there is no officially recognized treatment or practical vaccine, prevention relies on control of the tick vectors. To complicate the situation, three tick species native to the southeastern United States (A. cajennense, A. dissimile, and A. maculatum) have been shown experimentally to be capable vectors.

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Ticks that have been removed from foreign cattle, horses, numerous kinds of zoo animals, animal products and miscellaneous items presented at ports of entry and in some cases within the United States represent nine genera and 37 species:

Amblyomma americanum, A. cajennense, A. dissimile, A. gemma, A. hebraeum, A. longirostre, A. maculatum, A. ovate, A. pomposum, A. rotundatum, A. testudinis, A. tholloni, A. variegatum, Boophilus annulatus, B. decolomtus, B. microplus.

Dermacentor nigrolineatus, D. nitens, D. parumapertus, D. reticulatus, Haemaphysatis leachii muhsami, Hyalomma atbiparmatum, H. anatolicum anatolicum, H. dromedarii, H. marginatum, H. rufipes, H. truncatum, Ixodes hexagonus, I. ricinus, I. scapularis, Ornithodoros amblus, Otobius megnini, Rhipicephalus bursa, R. evertsi, R. putcheltus, R. simus simus, and R. sanguineus.

This study revealed three important points:

(1) Most of the exotic ticks found on imports are males; females apparently drop off at foreign quarantine stations and while the imports are en route.

(2) Native as well as exotic ticks on imported animals may be vectors of exotic disease.

(3) Harmful ticks occur on strange items and abnormal hosts.

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West Nile in Ticks:


Mosquitoes and ticks serve as natural vectors of WN. Most virus isolates have been from mosquitoes, suggesting that they serve as primary vectors.

Culex univittatus appears to be the major WN vector in Africa. Culex pipiens is a secondary vector in South Africa and may be the primary vector in Israel.

Members of the Cx. vishnui complex are the primary vectors in India and Pakistan. West Nile infected ticks in the genera Argas, Hyalomma, and Ornithodoros have been collected in northern Africa and eastern Europe.

The vector(s) responsible for the 1999 NYC outbreak have not yet been identified. The most likely candidates, however, are members of the Cx. pipiens species complex.

Members of this complex have been implicated in West Nile outbreaks elsewhere in the world, and they are among the most common mosquitoes in NYC during the summer.

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All of the major groups of pathogenic organisms have representatives that are transmitted by arthropod vectors and cause disease in domestic livestock or poultry.

For example, over 400 arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) have been recognized, including the etiologic agents of such major livestock diseases as African swine fever, Akabane disease, bovine ephemeral fever, the equine encephalitides, bluetongue, and epizootic hemorrhagic fever (16).

Rickettsial agents that are primarily tick-borne cause several extremely important livestock disease problems, including bovine and ovine anaplasmosis, heartwater, tick-borne fever, bovine infectious petechial fever, epizootic bovine abortion, Jembrana disease, and Q fever.

Arthropod-borne bacteria cause such well-known diseases as borreliosis of cattle and horses, spirochetosis of poultry, tularemia, and Lyme disease.

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Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 14(3), 1965, pp. 456-459

Copyright © 1965 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

California Encephalitis Virus Infection: A Case Report

Donald T. Quick, Arthur G. Smith, Arthur L. Lewis, Gladys E. Sather|| AND William McD. Hammon¶

Encephalitis Research Center, Florida State Board of Health, Tampa, Florida, and the Department of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh

A case of severe encephalitis in a previously healthy 12-year-old girl was associated with a diagnostic rise in antibodies representing recent infection with a California group arbovirus.

This case is the first report of human disease associated with this infection since the original studies in California and is the initial report of a case from Florida.

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Journal of Clinical Microbiology, November 2004, p. 5076-5086, Vol. 42, No. 11

Borrelia Species in Host-Seeking Ticks and Small Mammals in Northern Florida

Kerry Clark*

Department of Public Health, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida

Received 11 February 2004/ Returned for modification 24 June 2004/ Accepted 4 July 2004

The aim of this study was to improve understanding of several factors related to the ecology and environmental risk of Borrelia infection in northern Florida.

Small mammals and host-seeking adult ticks were collected at several sites, and specimens were tested for the presence of Borrelia species, primarily by PCR amplification.

Tissues from some vertebrates and ticks were initially cultured in BSK-H medium to isolate spirochetes, but none were recovered. However, comparison of partial flagellin (flaB), 66-kDa protein (p66), and outer surface protein A (ospA) gene sequences from DNAs amplified from small mammals and ticks confirmed the presence of several Borrelia species.

Borrelia lonestari DNA was detected among lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum) at four sites. Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto strains were detected in all small mammal species tested and in A. americanum, Ixodes affinis, and Ixodes scapularis ticks. Borrelia bissettii was found in a cotton mouse and cotton rats and in I. affinis ticks.

The study findings extend the known geographic distributions of B. lonestari in A. americanum and of B. burgdorferi sensu lato in A. americanum, I. affinis, I. scapularis, and small mammals to new sites in Florida. The presence of B. burgdorferi sensu stricto strains in host-seeking lone star ticks at two sites in Florida suggests that A. americanum should still be considered a possible vector of B. burgdorferi sensu lato.

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J Med Entomol. 1998 Sep;35(5):621-4.

Establishment of the tortoise tick Amblyomma marmoreum (Acari: Ixodidae) on a reptile-breeding facility in Florida.

Allan SA, Simmons LA, Burridge MJ.


Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611-0880, USA.


The tortoise tick Amblyomma marmoreum Koch was found to be established on a reptile facility in central Florida. Over a 5-mo period, 443 ticks were collected from tortoises, dogs, and vegetation. Collections from hosts were primarily from 3 species of exotic tortoises, including leopard tortoises, Aldabra tortoises, and yellow-footed tortoises. The total numbers of ticks present, the presence of all life stages, and the slow development of this species indicate that this is not a recent infestation. The source of the infestation is unknown because no tortoises were imported or moved onto this premise within the previous year. The propensity of this tick to feed on mammals and reptiles as immatures, its status as an experimental heartwater vector, and potential for further accidental introductions to the United States elicit concern toward the more widespread establishment of this species.